03.29.2009 Acts 21-28 - 10 Truths About God's Sovereign Control


03.29.2009 Grace Summit Sermon Part 1 - Acts 21-28 - 10 Truths About God's Sovereign Control from Grace Summit on Vimeo

03.29.2009 Grace Summit Sermon Part 2 - Acts 21-28 - 10 Truths About God's Sovereign Control from Grace Summit on Vimeo.

Part 1 is first 8 minutes of message, Pt. 2 is the last 25 minutes. Mike Marette: This is a (true) story. A guy was working a job – starts to grow dissatisfied…sends out resumes and finds a new job…Prays about it – takes the new job. A few months later, the economy crashes…and his new job is eliminated. He can’t go back to his old job. Where was God in this? College professor and part-time pastor. Got held up at a gathering – on the way home, got hit by a drunk driver – killing the man’s wife, mother, and daughter. We ask, where was God? Where is God’s sovereign control when something like this happens. Another story – has happened many times. You are a Christian family and are taking your kids to church – and once they get to high school – something happens – and they stop following the Lord. Where was God in that? We did everything we thought we were supposed to do. God’s sovereignty – this is an enormous subject – I’ll highlight a few points. We are going to finish the book of Acts today – Acts 21-28. Where is God’s sovereign control, even when things don’t go the way we want them to. Father, thank You that even though, at times in life, it seems that You have forgotten, stopped paying attention, or missed something – thank You that You are always there. You do reign sovereignly – You are in control. Help us to understand Your work in this world that we might have faith and hope in whatever circumstance we face. There is one verse that everyone talks about when we talk about the sovereignty of God. Rom. 8: 28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to [His] purpose. That is a verse we love – and a verse we hate. We love it when it is working – or working according to our perception. I’d like to give you four things that we can know from this passage. 1) All things are not good – The drunk driving down the street who kills the wife, daughter, and mother – there is evil – and your goodness has no control over the evil that comes into your life. Your goodness has no control over the evil that comes into your life. Your devout Christianity – you can be a Bible-school professor and pastor – but that doesn’t stop a drunk driver from crossing the median. 2) But God can WORK GOOD out of whatever happens. He works something good – even out of evil. God is able to work out good. 3) The third thing we see is that it is conditional 28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to [His] purpose. This is not speaking of degrees – are you loving him enough? I think it is saying – those who want to follow Christ. Even if you blow it a million times, but that is your heart - to follow Christ – this is for you. You don’t have to get to a certain point in life, but you must desire to follow and serve Him. 4) The fourth we see – God’s sovereign control is always connected to His purpose 28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to [His] purpose. It is always connected with God’s purpose. All things good or evil will work to accomplish His purpose in and through our lives. God has something He is trying to do – He has called us to something on this earth. God is working with the things in our lives to accomplish His plan. You can think: If God is in control of all things – then life should be good. But that is not what this verse says. Or you could think – if God is in control, then all things should work for my comfort, safety and well-being. He takes things in our lives and uses them to accomplish His plans. Paul is a case-study in the sovereignty of God. 10 truths that we can know about God’s sovereign control in our lives. God’s sovereign control can, at times, lead us to dangerous and painful places. God’s purpose for Paul led him to prison, to beatings, and to painful circumstances. Acts 22 – Paul is arrested – so he has all these hearings before important people. The last several chapters are all about Paul being arrested and going on trial – again and again and again. Paul is brought before – and is able to share his story. Acts 22:21 "And He said to me, 'Go! For I will send you far away to the Gentiles.'" Acts 9:15 But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; 16 for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name's sake God’s purpose for Paul was to speak the gospel message to the Gentile world. That is what God is accomplishing through these difficult times in Paul’s life. To become a community empowered by the Holy Spirit to do the work of Jesus in our world. – To bring the gospel message to people God puts us in contact with. One of the reasons is that you might reach those God has placed around you. Paul understood this. When he is arrested, it is an opportunity to fulfill this. Acts 22: 25 And when they stretched him out with thongs, Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, "Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman and uncondemned?" 26 And when the centurion heard [this,] he went to the commander and told him, saying, "What are you about to do? For this man is a Roman." 27 And the commander came and said to him, "Tell me, are you a Roman?" And he said, "Yes." They are about to beat Paul – but Paul knew something they did not know…I am a Roman citizen. That scared the daylights out of these Roman soldiers. They went to the commander… 28 And the commander answered, "I acquired this citizenship with a large sum of money." And Paul said, "But I was actually born [a citizen.]" 29 Therefore those who were about to examine him immediately let go of him; and the commander also was afraid when he found out that he was a Roman, and because he had put him in chains. 2nd truth – God has ordained the circumstances of our path to accomplish His purposes both now and in the future. When we look back on everything in our past – even from where and how we were born – God has ordained that to accomplish His purposes both now and in the future. Acts 23: 11 But on the night [immediately] following, the Lord stood at his side and said, "Take courage; for as you have solemnly witnessed to My cause at Jerusalem, so you must witness at Rome also." So the Lord comes and gives a promise – this was Paul’s goal and God’s purpose – God wished to get Paul to Rome to be able to witness there. At times – not always – we will not understand what God is doing – but there will be times where God will show us specifically what God is doing to accomplish His purposes. We need to ask – How does God want to use this to accomplish His purpose? Paul is arrested here – and God wants to use it to get Paul to Rome. As we follow – You can’t demand this from God – but at times God will show you here is why this is happening. Sometimes He won’t – but we need to trust in faith. Faith is continuing to do what God wants us to do when things fall apart in our lives. After this, there is a plot to kill Paul – by the Jews – so the Romans move him out to Caesarea - he spends two years there. While he is in custody – house arrest – his enemies come after him – and his other enemies come to help him out! God will use both friends and enemies to fulfill His purposes. Sometimes those we really don’t like push us into accomplishing His purposes. God is able to share the gospel message with Felix. And then Festus – the governor of Judea. And then – eventually, he is able to share with King Agrippa – opportunity after opportunity to speak this message. Acts 25: 9 But Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, answered Paul and said, "Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and stand trial before me on these [charges]?" 10 But Paul said, "I am standing before Caesar's tribunal, where I ought to be tried. I have done no wrong to [the] Jews, as you also very well know. 11 "If then I am a wrongdoer, and have committed anything worthy of death, I do not refuse to die; but if none of those things is [true] of which these men accuse me, no one can hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar." 12 Then when Festus had conferred with his council, he answered, "You have appealed to Caesar, to Caesar you shall go." Now, what happens here – Paul is going through this – it doesn’t tell us that he is doing this to get to Rome – but that is what happens. Fifth truth – God’s message is always connected to our story. It is through our story – the events of our lives – that we are given the opportunity to tell the message. The Bible is filled with story, isn’t it? God takes our stories, all that we go through – so our story may be joined with His story and the message of Christ may be proclaimed. We have all been inspired by people who have gone through difficult things – and in having gone through it – God’s story is told. Think of all the stories you have heard – And in your life – God is working a story – Think of Joseph or Paul – stories of prison. 6th – Understanding God’s control is not a passive thing – Remember “Let it be?” Let it be what? That is not understanding the sovereignty of God. Paul was active – I appeal to Caesar. Take action! Use it! Follow Hard! Take the opportunity for God to use it. Acts 26: 30 And the king arose and the governor and Bernice, and those who were sitting with them, 31 and when they had drawn aside, they [began] talking to one another, saying, "This man is not doing anything worthy of death or imprisonment." 32 And Agrippa said to Festus, "This man might have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar." 7th In God’s plans – certain decisions we make (Like taking a job you feel God led you to) – will seem like the wrong result. Remember, this is the right result (God’s purpose was to get Paul to Rome) – From our perspective – no one wants to go to Rome – they did terrible things to Christians in Rome! Paul goes on some boat rides. A big storm comes up – a bunch of days without seeing light. They are trying to get out of trouble – they try to harbor and get pushed out to sea… Acts 27: 9 And when considerable time had passed and the voyage was now dangerous, since even the fast was already over, Paul [began] to admonish them, 10 and said to them, "Men, I perceive that the voyage will certainly be [attended] with damage and great loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives." 11 But the centurion was more persuaded by the pilot and the captain of the ship, than by what was being said by Paul. 8th – God’s purpose will be accomplished despite what other people say or do. We think that others prevent us – like it is their fault – their refusal to do what God wants is not stopping God from doing what He needs to do in our lives. Acts 27: 22 "And [yet] now I urge you to keep up your courage, for there shall be no loss of life among you, but [only] of the ship. 23 "For this very night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood before me, 24 saying, 'Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar; and behold, God has granted you all those who are sailing with you.' 25 "Therefore, keep up your courage, men, for I believe God, that it will turn out exactly as I have been told. 26 "But we must run aground on a certain island." We need to hear that God is in control. We need to remind ourselves. We remind ourselves by reading His word and memorizing verses. We need to remind ourselves when things get bad and we get anxious – we need to remind ourselves that God has not changed. They end up at Malta …meal – oooo – that was bad…Paul gets bitten by a snake – 10 – the detours of life – God has this amazing detour and causes this incredible shipwreck because He has a bigger purpose than just getting him to Rome. We can’t see all that God wants us to do. We have a tunnel vision – so God brings detours. Paul is in prison – but allowed to have visitors and people come in droves – and he is given the opportunity. Acts 28: 28 "Let it be known to you therefore, that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will also listen." 29 [And when he had spoken these words, the Jews departed, having a great dispute among themselves.] 30 And he stayed two full years in his own rented quarters, and was welcoming all who came to him, 31 preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered. For us as individuals – His purpose – His sovereign control – his purpose – to love and know God with all of our hearts. We do that by helping others come to know and love God. As a church – His purpose for us – to love God and bring that love to others. We need to use every opportunity. We need to learn to view everything in life through that lens. The lens of God’s purpose of our lives being used to bring the love of Christ to everyone God gives us opportunity. Let's pray...

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